Back on March 17th, I posted an article about how timeliness is crucial when dealing with customers.
The idea for this article was sparked by an incident I had just had where I was trying to get an exterminator to give me a price quote because I was anticipating having a lot of spiders inside my house.
This had been a problem last year I think mainly due to the trees and shrubs in my yard that are close to my windows.
Anyhow, I looked on Google Maps for exterminators in my area and settled on one to see if I could get a quote. Their web site said that they prided themselves on being affordable, so that sounded good to me.
Basically, I contacted them via their website form and never heard from them again.
Fast forward to this past weekend. The spiders have actually been showing up now, so I figure enough is enough. I have put it off long enough. I’m getting an exterminator out here. I went back to Google Maps to look at the selection again, and there that word was again – affordable (a good word to hook customers in).
I decided to give this apparently small business a second chance (which many people would not do, I might add). Of course I wasn’t going to rely on the web form to get through to them this time, but I figured surely if I called they would be able to help me.
So I dialed their number and was greeted with a voice message saying that they were either on another line or away from their desk, and that they would get back to me ASAP if I left my name and number, which I did of course. It was the weekend, so I wasn’t that shocked that nobody was answering. I figured I would get a call on Monday.
I also figured, "why not explore some other options?" I continued to browse through the listings on Google Maps and saw the one everybody knows – Orkin. I figured Orkin would be more expensive than this local so-called "affordable" competitor, but I browsed their site anyway and came across a similar web form from which I could request a quote. "Well, why not request a quote? I don’t have to commit to anything."
No more than five minutes after I completed that form, not only did I receive a follow-up email from Orkin, but my phone rang. I assumed it would be the "affordable" guys returning my call, but to my surprise it was the Orkin Man. I never would have expected such a fast response time over the phone from filling out a web form, but these guys obviously are on top of their game.
Orkin gave me a price quote over the phone and explained their services to me and were incredibly helpful. So much, in fact that they closed their sale with me right then and there. I would rather just go ahead and get my appointment down than go through the hassle of waiting for the other guys to follow-up or explore further options.
Now it’s Wednesday, and the Orkin Man has come and gone, and I have not seen a spider since. I have also not been contacted by the affordable guys.
This is a clear-cut example of a small business failing to compete with a large brand. Customer service is so crucial. There’s no telling how many other people had a similar experience with this company. I don’t know how they can ever expect to grow their business if they treat their potential customers this way.
And that’s only half of it. If I wasn’t such a nice guy, I could totally call them out here by name, and contribute to their reputation, which I would suspect has already been diminished to an extent already. I won’t do that, but I could. And so can anybody else that runs a website, a blog, posts on forums and message boards, writes articles for content sites, etc, etc, etc.
As Andy Beal so often says, we’re living in a transparent world. Do you really want to take a chance of everybody seeing this type of behavior coming from your business all because you wouldn’t return a phone call or an email?
Your customers are the reason you have a business, people. Don’t forget it.
How many of you would’ve given them a second chance? How many would call them out online?